tv NBC Nightly News NBC February 11, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
decision 2012 returns to new england as republicans look for their frontrunner. tonight she is having her say. hope and change. and we learn of a promising new development that is called exciting. why some are sounding the alarm about a desperate struggle to find a cure. eyes to the sky. unmanned drone, now flying high over cities here at home.
why that has a lot of folks concerned. and this saturday -- something to watch. a cinderella story. overnight sensation is now the talk about the town. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. reversing a streak of three straight losses there's late word from maine that mitt romney has won that state's republican presidential caucuses. fending off a strong challenge from ron paul, the only other candidate that actively campai he also won a straw poll among influential republicans gathered in washington this weekend. and making news at the conference -- sarah palin who emerged to rally the right wing. and we start our coverage in
maine and we have more from ron. ron? >> reporter: good evening. there's a lot of disappointment here they thought ron paul would pull this out, and he didn't. mitt romney is not even here in the state of maine. he's in california. he was planning to take some time off and made a last minute push through here and then he made two appearances at caucus sites here today that helped to push him over the top. ron paul came in second behind romney's 39%. he is saying he's going to push on. but again, a big sigh of relief from mitt romney out in californiame california. that's the story here tonight. >> ron allen, thanks. now to washington, where romney won straw polls. it's an important nod for romney whose conservative credentials have been challenged throughout the campaign. he topped rick santorum, followed by newt gingrich and ron paul.
but the big attention getter at this weekend's gathering was sarah palin who emerged with a rallying cry to voters. >> reporter: sarah palin late today before a raucous crowd and back on center stage. >> it is about one country united under god. we're not red or blue americans. we're red, white and blue and president obama, we are through with you. >> reporter: palin brought conservatives to their feet, mocking the president and dishing up plenty of red meat. >> he says he has a jobs plan to win the future. wtf, i know. and i'm the idiot. >> reporter: though she don't endorse a candidate as some had hoped an energized palin rallied the base at cpac, an influential
annual meeting of activists on the right. >> our nominee must be ready, strong, fortified, passionate. a fighter for american ideals! >> reporter: many conservatives haven't gotten over palin's decision not to run. >> i think she represents a lot of what this country is about. she would be a great leader. >> reporter: mitt romney narrowly beat rick santorum at the straw poll, but with some conservatives dissatisfied and the field still unsettled. today, cpac chairman spoke openly of a possible brokered gop convention. >> i mentioned jeb bush as a personal favorite, but i said there could be others. whether he was the prime choice or not at the convention, you know, you could think of mitch daniels, chris christie, you know, mike huckabee and the list goes on. >> reporter: while the economy and jobs remain a key cam thane theme, this week's social issues eremerged. including denouncing president obama's ruling on contraceptive coverage and striking down gay
marriage in california. it increases the risk for the americans in the fall. >> certainly if the republicans are seen as too doctrinaire or pushing the social issues too hard it could scare the swing voters. >> reporter: and most convention wisdom said it's all just part of the process and it could happen. lester? >> thanks. we want to turn to cnbc's john harwood. for mitt romney obviously a big deal to win a kacaucus but is i enough for him to get this endorsement, winning the straw poll today? >> reporter: both are a nice psychological boost for mitt romney after a very bad tuesday against rick santorum and bad new national poll suggesting that rick santorum might be coming up substantially. the poll actually showed rick santorum with a 15-point lead over mitt romney. but i got off the phone with the
senior strategist for mitt romn romney's campaign. he said don't put too much stock in the results. he said the two big primaries are important, coming up in michigan and arizona and mitt romney's campaign thinks they have to win both of these. >> but we're still looking at an unsettled field and when you hear that conversation, this talk of a brokered convention, does that become a real possibility? >> lester, i'll believe a brokered convention when i see one. it's never happened yet, but if it does happen it's not going to be because anybody at cpac or sarah palin says they want i want to happen. it's going to be because rick santorum and newt gingrich managed to take advantage of their own strength and mitt romney's vulnerability to deny him the nomination that by all rights ought to be his. >> john harwood, thank you. white house chief of staff jack lew and rick santorum will be among the guests tomorrow on
"meet the press." we turn to the horrific tragedy in washington state that's captured the attention of so many. there was a funeral today for the two young boys murdered by his own father when he burned their house to the ground. we get the story tonight. ♪ >> reporter: family, friends and strangers filled the pews. more than a thousand gathered to say good-bye to 7-year-old charlie and 5-year-old braden. brothers who shared a single casket, fondly remembered today. >> in our class, charlie was known as the little scientist. he loved rocks, sticks, leaves and bugs. braden had an enthusiasm for life and took pleasure in everything. >> reporter: the service for charlie and braden came nearly a week after they lost their lives in a place where they should have been safe. >> he blew up the house and the kids! >> reporter: last sunday, they were killed in a house fire set by their father who also died.
the social worker who brought charlie and braden for the supervised visit said powell locked the boys out, said i have a surprise for you to the boys, and then torched the home. she called 911. >> they have to respond to emergency, life-threatening situations first. >> reporter: a deputy wouldn't be dispatched for eight minutes. >> i just wish i had understood better what -- what the circumstances were. and the lethal quality of this call, and all of the dangerous potential that was there. >> reporter: named a person of interest in wife susan's 2009 disappearance, josh powell was never charged with the crime. this week, detectives removed a blood stained comforter from the storage shed, potential evidence against a man who police say likely killed his wife. >> this is the item that obviously has got everybody's attention. >> reporter: with susan powell's disappearance unsolved, today her parents buried her children. >> we thank you for your support.
we know that they're with their mother. >> reporter: charlie and braden who lost their mom and were murdered by their dad, leaving the world as they lived it -- together. we turn now to the arctic air across much of the country, after one of the warmest januaries on record. the first couple of weeks of february are a reminder that it is in fact winter. snow is on the map and some record low temperatures in store for tonight. kelly cass is covering it for us at weather channel headquarters. >> reporter: good evening, lester. we have had it so good, but it's sunk all the way into the south and that's where we're tracking the next winter storm. so look for ice and snow, even into parts of texas. we're going to be tracking that over the next couple of days as well as the record cold temperatures. you can see where we have our winter watch on the map. we're calling for several inches of snow in portions of kansas and oklahoma. even the panhandle of texas as that low comes out of new
mexico. the pink indicating a wintry mix. dallas, we think you'll be okay for monday, but watch the snow from joplin, st. louis and even into the ohio valley as we head to tuesday. quite a bit of snowfall in the wake of the frontal boundary and there are your record low temperatures. we could be down into the teens across the south. lester, back to you. >> kelly cass, thank you. tonight much of europe remains plunged in a deep freeze. several countries including serbia and croatia are dealing with electricity shortages and some towns are without power. much of italy is covered with the heaviest snow that folks have seen in 30 years. to syria, where at least 17 people were killed as the violence rages on. the crisis there becoming more dire with each passing day. and tonight, the government crackdown is spreading over the border. we get the latest from nbc's ayman mohyeldin. >> reporter: a young child running under fire.
dramatically rescued from a sniper's bullet. the daily barrage of shelling and gun fire has destroyed homes all across the country. life for many has become unbearable. but for the syrian government, this is a war against terrorism. which it claims has killed 2,000 of its soldiers. and today for the first time a hig high-ranking officer was killed in the capital itself. that comes after two explosions rocked military installations in the largest city, aleppo. the attacks have raised fears that the violence can spread to cities that are considered strong holds of the regime and that have been relatively untouched by the 11-month uprising. the u.s. state department released the satellite images showing tanks positioned on the outskirts of cities like homs. the now evacuated u.s.
ambassador to syria dismisses the idea that the government is the victim in this conflict. >> i do not want the syrian government to try through some propaganda scheme to try to hide the truth. the syrian government needs to stop the violence. >> reporter: but for now, the syrian government is still pushing ahead with its military crackdown. seven days it's pounded the city of homs, killing close to 400 people according to syrian opposition activists. the death toll cannot be independently verified. in neighboring lebanon, supporters of syrian president assad clashed with a group that opposes his regime. raising fears that it could soon spill over the border. as the world watches, mourners gather daily to mark their passing of new victims of the violence. ayman mohyeldin, cairo. another source of tension in the middle east, iran, where
today ahmadinejad said he'll reveal "very big nuclear achievements." he made the comments at a rally in tehran marking the anniversary of the islamic revolution. when "nbc nightly news" continues on a saturday night, promising news about the war on alzheimer and a warning about a desperate search to find the cure. and later, lin-sanity. it is spreading across the country like wildfire. do you sleep in your contact lenses ?
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we're back now with news about alzheimer's disease. a promising new study has a lot of people talking. a skin cancer drug that reversed signs of alzheimer's in mice. a development that gives scientists cautious hope about the drug's potential in humans. and next week, president obama will ask congress for an additional $80 million for alzheimer's research. but that's still a drop in the bucket compared to the $2 trillion experts say is needed to make an impact. we get the story from our chief science correspondent, robert bazell. >> reporter: at age 84, tippy reader has been moving into alzheimer's disease for years. >> i'm a lot more forgettable than i used to be. >> reporter: doctors can measure the progression with increasingly sophisticated tests. that pick up the signs earlier and earlier. what they can't do is stop her from getting the condition or treat it. today, 5.4 million americans are
living with alzheimer's disease and the same number with memory impairment that often progresses to alzheimer's. in the next 40 years, those numbers are expected to triple if scientists do not find effective treatments. >> the bill is passed -- >> reporter: that's why congress recently passed and the president signed the national alzheimer's project act. a plan to look at all aspects of the disease's threats to society and find an effective treatment by 2025. >> this offers us a transformative opportunity to bring alzheimer's disease to a national agenda and a national dialogue. >> reporter: but the reality is there's no way to pay for it. everyone realizes the enormous public health impact of alzheimer's. the labs like this across the country that are working to find a cure are struggle to get the money to pay for it. already alzheimer's gets far less than many other diseases. in the past decade, the percentage of research projects getting funded has dropped drastically.
>> most people who work on alzheimer's disease, most scientists, nowadays spend most of their time trying to raise money through the expertments rather than doing the expeerments themselves. >> their caregivers are unable to advocate because they're exhausted. >> we're going to do the learning and -- >> reporter: so at the very beginning, the national war on alzheimer's faces a major obstacle and an enormous lack of funds to fight for a cure. robert bazell, nbc news, new york. up next here tonight, the eyes in the sky over major american cities and why they have some folks concerned. [ woman ] i was ready for my trip, but my smile wasn't. [ female announcer ] new crest 3d white intensive professional effects whitestrips. it goes below the enamel surface to whiten as well as a five-hundred dollar professional treatment for a transformation that's hard to believe. ♪
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drones have become a familiar tool in u.s. missions overseas. we have heard a lot about those remotely controlled eyes in the sky over the middle east. now some police departments here at home are adding drones to their arsenals. and that's raising eyebrows among privacy advocates. we get our report tonight in nbc's charles headlock. >> reporter: we have seen them in action in iraq, afghanistan and pakistan. unmanned american drones are the high-tech fixtures of modern military warfare. and now, their surveillance technology is about to be used in a whole new way at home. miami-dade police are among the first to test this new breed of aircraft. >> like a rocket. >> reporter: a uav, an unmanned aerial vehicle with some of the same technology as military drones, but much smaller and lighter. >> has no weapon, it's not capable of any offensive or defensive. it's just a camera.
it's a flying camera. >> reporter: companies that make the uavs claim they can be used in a manhunt. or in a standoff or hostage situation. >> it gives them that ability to deploy something quickly in less than five minutes as opposed to a full-sized aircraft. >> reporter: to know what to expect. >> this gives us realtime data to make decisions. >> reporter: the sheriff's department used federal homeland security money to buy a $300,000 helicopter drone. small enough to fit on a table. >> it's so simple in its design and the objectives of it, you just wonder why anyone would choose not to have it. >> reporter: police helicopters have been flying around major cities for years. but critics say the prospect of unmanned drones with cameras peering into backyards and following people may be going too far. >> i think that there are an opportunity for fishing expeditions. >> reporter: terry burke with the american civil liberties union of texas say police drones
may have a legitimate law enforcement purpose, but fears they'll be too easy to misuse. >> in an era where we have warrant warrantless searches and privately intrusion, the drones are an excuse to trample on the constitution. >> reporter: right now only a handful of cities have plans to use unmanned drones. but manufacturers expect business to take off later this year. when the faa issues guidelines on when, how and where these eyes in the sky can fly. and tonight millions of americans have come down with a serious case of powerball fever. tonight's jackpot is up to $325 million and expected to rise even higher as people in 42 states snap tickets up before the drawing. your chances of hitting the jackpot are one in 175,237,510. when come back, he's simply lin credible. if you haven't heard of him, you will. do you often experience the feeling of a dry mouth?
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i was just blown away. life's been good to me. i feel like one of the luckiest guys in the world. ♪ finally tonight, the growing excitement over a shooting star lighting up new york and the nba. he's not new to basketball. but he's spent most of these career on the bench and now all of a sudden he's turning heads. outplaying one of the game's biggest stars. and doing everything he can to make jeremy lin a household name. it's a modern day cinderella story on the hardwood. >> lin lays it in. >> a guy who had to convince
arena security guards he really was a member of the team has become the belle of the ball for the new york knicks. >> you feel the energy because that'sing to do something exciting with the basketball. >> a virtual unknown who last night lit up madison square garden with 38 points, as if that weren't enough, jeremy lin managed to outscore kobe bryant. even wowed fans with a spin move that's gone viral. in just four game, 6'3" chinese-american ivy league grad has risen from the bench to become the nba's undisputed breakout star. and igniting a wave of what fans are calling lin-sanity. >> this guy is electric. and the team is playing with excitement. >> kind of like the disney story. because he didn't -- wasn't even given a chance. >> born in california t 23-year-old played at harvard and then bounced around the nba as an undrafted player, playing
only 29 games last season. then last week in a knicks uniform he emerged from obscurity. >> you don't see undrafted free agents having this impact. >> he's become a phenomenon online. and where they're calling it a linderella story. >> everyone wants to talk to, you know, me or my family. sometimes it's a little tough. >> his sudden success is the talk of asian-american communities. >> like the other coaches are saying, what's that kid's name? jeremy lin. >> the timing couldn't be sweeter. >> it is hard to fathom, but everyone is going to ride this train as long as it goes. we don't know when it will end. >> well, the knicks have spent millions acquiring well-known talent it may be an unknown in the end who gives them the inspiration they need to go all the way. and after getting by sleeping on his brother's couch, lin says